Author: Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets

Nuggets Danilo Gallinari has meniscus tear in right knee, out three weeks after surgery


There was a time just a few years ago when Danilo Gallinari was what teams wanted in a four that fits the modern NBA game — he ran the floor well, could stretch the floor to knock down threes, could put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, just could do a lot of things on offense. He was Il Gallo, the rooster. He scored more points per game (17.2) then anyone else on a 57-win Nuggets team.

Knee injuries have robbed us of that Gallinari.

First it was the torn ACL at the end of that 2013 season, followed by a surgery that didn’t fix the problems and had to be redone so he missed all of last season.

Now this: Gallinari has a torn meniscus in his right knee but could return in a few weeks, as reported by Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post.

Ugh. but at least he’ll be back. Hopefully closer to his old self.

Gallinari hadn’t been the same this season, coming off the bench scoring 7.8 points a game this season and shooting just 36 percent overall and 31.4 percent from three. He hadn’t been much of a factor and was already not the same player, the one Denver needed if they were going to be playoff contenders in the West this season (the Nuggets are 12-15 with a below average offense and defense).

Gallinari has one year left on his contract after this at $11.6 million.

UPDATE: Kevin Durant’s status Sunday vs. Pelicans not yet known, is game time decision

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors
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UPDATE Dec. 21, 12:45 pm: Turns out the early reports were premature. The official status of Kevin Durant is he is a game time decision for Sunday night against the Pelicans. It likely will not be until Scott Brooks speaks to the media pregame that we will know his status.

If the ankle is bothering him at all the Thunder should rest him — this is December, not the playoffs. That said he may be fine. I saw him walking at Staples Center Friday night before he sat out the game vs. the Lakers and he showed little if any limp in his walk then.

Dec. 21, 9:30 am: That play happened just before halftime last Thursday night and the Thunder understandably want to be cautious here — once an ankle ligament is stretched out in a sprain a player is more susceptible to aggravating or worsening the problem until it fully heals. The Thunder want to get this right, not have it become a lingering thing.

So Durant will sit out his second game in a row Sunday night, this one in New Orleans reports the Times Picayune.

The Thunder won Friday night without Durant in a close one with the Lakers. They’re going to need to play better here, the Lakers don’t have anyone who causes near the problems that Anthony Davis does.

Blake Griffin with dagger tip-in to lift Clippers past Bucks (VIDEO)

Blake Griffin, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Paul

The Clippers and Bucks played one that was close pretty much the whole way on Saturday night (neither side led by more nine the whole way) but when it got down to the end the Clippers could lean on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Milwaukee had nobody who could match that.

CP3 had nine points in the final six minutes of the game including two free throws with 1:12 left that put the Clips up two.

At that point the Bucks put the ball in Brandon Knight’s hands. For some reason. Knight missed a three pointer, then when Jared Dudley grabbed the offensive board and gave the Bucks a second chance, we got another Knight isolation set that went nowhere followed by a missed long two. Still the Bucks were going to have one more chance if they could get a stop and they forced Paul into a long two that missed, but on the switches Knight ended up having to box out Blake Griffin and, well, that didn’t end well.

Griffin gets the dagger tip in and the Clippers win their seventh in a row at home.

Rajon Rondo was very Rondoesque in debut with Mavericks (VIDEO)

Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli

What was the book on Rajon Rondo as we discussed his trade to Dallas? Good defender (not what he once was, but an upgrade for Dallas), great passer who racks up assists, floor general, good rebounder for the position, struggles to shoot.

In his debut for Dallas Saturday night against a depleted Spurs team, Rondo checked off all those boxes.

He finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting (he was 1-of-8 on uncontested looks), but he racked up nine assists, made some quality defensive plays (he picked up four charging fouls), he pulled down seven rebounds, and looked decent if still understandably feeling his way in leading the Mavericks offense.

Dallas picked up a 99-93 win thanks to 38 points from Monta Ellis, who was in attack mode getting to the rim all night and had the ball in his hands to create at the end of the game.

You can’t judge how Rondo will eventually fit with the team from just one game, there is a long road still to walk here. But you could see the potential.

Robin Lopez denies dating Khloe Kardashian “rumors” in hysterical way

Portland Trail Blazers v Indiana Pacers

After the experiences of Lamar Odom and Kris Humphries, you could totally understand why another NBA player would want to date one of the Kardashians. Those both ended so well for everyone.

Yet on Friday “news” came out Khloe Kardashian — for the uninitiated, she was the one with Lamar Odom who most recently was dating rapper French Montana — is single again and had her eyes on Portland center Robin Lopez. Because what woman doesn’t find that Sideshow Bob hair hot?

Lopez shot that down in a hysterical way on the Blazers’ official site (h/t Eye on Basketball):

“You know, I’m not exactly certain of the veracity of those rumors,” said Lopez. “But what I can comment on, I suppose, is the fabrication of that power couple by the press. Obviously they were looking for two people with a lot of influence on popular culture, on the youth, and they were looking for two movers and shakers. Frankly, I’m not surprised they came up with my name.”

And now that he’s sideline for at least the next six weeks, Lopez, a native of North Hollywood, said he’s willing to try out the glamorous, fast-paced lifestyle that surely goes hand in hand with dating a Kardashian.

“I’ve got a lot more free time for magazine shoots, guest hosting duties on TV shows and stuff,” said Lopez. “They can contact my agent if they want to. I’m also the associate video guy. That’s one of my new duties. Got a wealth of opportunities even though I’ve only got one hand right now.”

Now that’s the right attitude.

This is just not going to work out. Which may be best for Robin. I’m not sure the city of Portland would be the most welcoming place ever for the Kardashians. Slightly different sensibilities up there.